Kiarra Gaba, Blogger at Edumarz

India’s primary source and premier central recruiting agency for Group A officers of the Government of India, i.e. UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), is responsible and liable to conduct the CSE(Civil Service Examination) nationwide. CSE is a competitive examination in India regulated for the recruitment of the interested aspirants into higher civil services of India including IFS(Indian Foreign Services), IAS(Indian Administrative Services), IPS(Indian Police services), etc. UPSC is a commission formed around 95 years ago on October 1, 1926, under the chairmanship of Sir Ross Barker. The Government of India Act 1935 resulted in the further formation of the Federal Public Service Commission beyond the Public Service Commission


Exam Name

CSE(Civil Service Examination)

Conducting Body

UPSC(Union Public Service Commission)

Exam Type


Expertise Tested

Writing, English, General Knowledge, etc.


Selection of the aspirants for various posts of Civil Services of India 

Exam Frequency

Annual(Once a year)

Exam Level


Exam Duration

2 hrs/exam – Prelims(only blind candidates will get 20 min extra)

3 hrs/exam – Mains

Complete Process Duration

A successful aspirant sits for around 32 hours of examination and the entire selection process in total.

Exam Stages

Prelims Exam

Main Exam


Types of Questions

Prelims – Objective Type 

Main – Subjective Type

Number of Papers

Prelims – 2

Mains – 9

Number of Questions

Prelims: Paper 1 – 100

               Paper 2 – 80

Mains: Paper A and Paper B

Nature of Exam


Qualification Rate



English and Hindi

Official Websites



The CSE(Civil Service Examination) is one of the most strenuous competitive examinations in India. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious and difficult exams with a high-end salary and witnesses most competition. Even a single attempt takes two complete years of preparation by the aspirant i.e. one year before the prelims and a year ahead of prelims till the interview.

Prelims are conducted in June every year and the results for the same are announced by mid-August.

After prelims candidates get prepared for the mains which are held in two stages –

  • The examination is held every October with the results being announced by the January of next year, followed by
  •  The interview(personality test) was held in March. Then the final qualification result is announced by May.

 Finally, the training for the selected candidates commences from September. 


The eligibility of the candidate to sit for the UPSC exam is based on three criteria. These criteria will make sure that the candidate is eligible to be a part of CSE or not. Criteria division is as follows :


For the designation of IFS, IAS, and IPS the candidate must be Indian or must hold Indian citizenship claiming the aspirant to be a citizen of India.

For any other service, one should fall in any one of these categories : 

  1. A citizen of India.
  2. A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan.
  3. A Tibetan refugee who settled permanently in India before 1 January 1962.
  4. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, or Vietnam, intending to permanently settle in India.


  • AGE –
  1. General category :

The candidate is expected to be over or the age of 21 years and must have not attained the age of more than 32 years on august 1 the time of examination.

  1. OBC category :

For OBC category candidates the highest age limit is 35 years.

  1. SC/ST category :

SC/ST candidates’ extended age limit is 37 years.

There are several other limitations for different categories of other candidates which can be checked on the official website.


The interested applicants must possess at least one of these qualifications :

  1. A degree from a Central, State, or a Deemed university
  2. A degree received through correspondence or distance education
  3. A degree from an open university
  4. A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above

Others are also eligible to apply for CSE but need to provide their documents as proof of their eligibility from the competent authority



Number of questions


Question type

Multiple type questions

Examination hours

2 hours; 20 min extra for  blind candidates

Number of questions

Paper 1 – 100

Paper 2 – 80

Types of papers

GS(General Studies) and CSAT(Civil Service Aptitude Test)

General studies marks

2 marks for each question

CSAT marks

2.5 marks each question

Minimum passing percentage

33 %

Prelims compulsory subjects




Environmental Science


Political Science- Civics

General Science- Physics, Chemistry and Biology

Negative marking

1 mark deducted for every 3 wrong  answers

The score received for wrong answers

⅓ marks after every deduction

Blank answer deduction

No deduction or penalty will be faced if the candidate leaves the answer blank



Total marks


Examination hours

3 hours; 30 min extra for blind candidates

Number of papers


Qualifying papers

2 – Paper 1 and Paper 2

Marks per paper

Paper 1 – 300 marks

Paper 2 – 300 marks

Compulsory status

Attempting every exam is compulsory to land to the last tier of the selection i.e to enter the  interview

Total marks for entire mains

1750 marks

Interview marking

275 marks

Grand total 

2025 marks



There is a limit to the number of attempts an individual can go for in order to sit for the CSE. The limits are defined with :

  1. 6 attempts for general category candidates,
  2. 9 attempts for OBC and PwBD – General category candidates, and
  3. No limit for the SC/ST category aspirants.



There does land a situation where two or even more candidates end up scoring the same marks in the examination. But that doesn’t mean that every candidate will land on the same level and rank as others. For ranking the aspirants UPSC has laid certain tie-breaking criteria to avoid such chaos. These ties are resolved in accordance with the principles of the commission. These are :

  1. The candidates scoring more marks in the compulsory and personality tests put together are ranked prior to the others who scored less.
  2. Also, the candidates who scored the same marks but are older than the other candidate are preferred over others.



Yes, candidates with the aim to pursue UPSC are now benefiting from the scholarships regarding the same. To help the UPSC candidates pursue their dreams many private and government-funded or aided institutions provide scholarships and free coachings. The criteria of each might differ but the aim of all these institutions is to lend a helping hand to every aspirant for the country’s better future. A few of these institutions are :


  1. Jamia Millia Islamia residential coaching academy, New Delhi
  2. State Institute for Administrative Careers, Mumbai
  3. Sardar Patel institute of public administration, Ahmedabad
  4. Jamia Hamdard residential coaching academy, New Delhi
  5. All India coaching for civil services, Chennai
  6. UP Mukhyamantri Abhyudaya Yojana 2021, Uttar Pradesh
  7. Aligarh Muslim university residential coaching academy, Aligarh


  • FEE :

The examination fee for the general category aspirants is Rs 100/- while the fees for any other candidate from any other category are completely exempted.

  • SCOPE :

UPSC has 3 types of civil services landing under it in divisions which are as follows :


All India Civil Services

  1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  2. Indian Police Service (IPS)
  3. Indian Forest Service (IFoS)

Group ‘A’ Civil Services

  1. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  2. Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS)
  3. Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
  4. Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
  5. Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
  6. Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
  7. Indian Information Service (IIS)
  8. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
  9. Indian Communication Finance Services (ICFS)
  10. Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
  11. Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS)
  12. Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
  13. Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
  14. Indian Revenue Service (IRS)
  15. Indian Trade Service (ITS)
  16. Railway Protection Force (RPF)

Group ‘B’ Civil Services

  1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service
  2. DANICS( Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Services)
  3. DANIPS( Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service)
  4. Pondicherry Civil Service
  5. Pondicherry Police Service


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